Aljosha Horvat was born to a Bosnian mother and a Croatian father. He grew up in Germany, where he got into working in film at only 13. He starred in many acclaimed movies, among them festival hits STILL, BEAUTIFUL BITCH and WRONG PLANET. He ventured into European television with great success, his most prominent roles were on the hit shows ALARM FOR COBRA 11, KITZBÜHEL HOMICIDE and LEIPZIG HOMICIDE.
Today, Aljosha Horvat is a celebrated actor in both America and Europe, currently working on (Emmy-nominated show) SUPER WINGS. Pro Media Mag was interested what motivated him in 2011, when he set off to New York.
How does it feel to be a German living in the US?
Aljosha: It feels fantastic.
What do you like about living in America?
Aljosha: Donuts. I grew up watching the Simpsons and back then we didn’t really have donuts as a pastry in Germany.
You came here for donuts?
Well, there was also the acting thing, but the main reason was always donuts. (smiles). I also like that this land breathes potential. It’s a good place for someone ambitious.
You certainly have proven to be ambitious. You moved to the US by yourself when you were only 20 years old, still a minor.
By American standards, mind you. In Germany I had been an adult for two years.
By then you had already done major work on some of Europe’s most successful television programs. Why make the move?
People ask me that all the time. I didn’t have anything to lose.
Didn’t you stand to lose your entire career in Europe?
Well, yes, if you look at it that way. Being absent certainly costs you jobs. But jobs aren’t the most important thing in the world. I knew what I wanted. As you said, I was 20. I wanted to explore. Also, you have to understand that I was already well traveled in terms of European cities due to my work. Many of my friends moved to another city within Germany but for me that really wouldn’t have felt too much like getting out, getting away from home.
Of course, I also wanted to see whether I could manage to work in America.
How did you feel, stepping off the plane for the first time? Were you scared?
I had visited here before, so I had a sense of what I was getting into. But that was the first time I came here alone. I was ecstatic. I felt free. I definitely was scared, also, although I would’ve never admitted that back then.
How did your friends and family react when you told them you wanted to leave?
My family and some of my friends didn’t really understand why at first and I wasn’t able to really explain it. Other friends knew that I had been dreaming of this for a very long time and were excited that I was actually going through with it. I was known to do unusual stuff, though, so I don’t think anyone was really surprised.
What other crazy stuff have you done?
When I was 18 I wrote and directed my first short film THE OTHERS AND ME (original title DIE ANDEREN UND ICH). It tells the story of cancer-fighting, young Mascha who every day impersonates a different character to escape her bleak reality. It was a micro-budget film with around $18,000.00. No one really thought I could pull this off since the script had over 20 different locations. Most of them were outdoors, which makes shooting a lot harder. For one, we had to shoot in the Alster, a canal-river in downtown Hamburg.
But you pulled it off?
I managed to assemble an unpaid crew of about 15 through connections I had made in the industry. They worked for me through 11 consecutive 18-hour days. I had a great producer, a fantastic assistant director and a terrific DoP. We had 2 months to prep… And we did it, step by step.
Was that your first time heading such a team?
Yeah. It was an interesting experience, since all crew was about twice my age, I was the youngest by far.
Since I had such a demanding position, the whole production was complicated by the fact that I was in my last year of high school. Prep and shoot was all in-between final exams. And final exams in German high schools are much more involved than they are in the US. I would wake up an hour and a half before school to get all my homework and learning done, so after school I could head straight to meetings. We managed to schedule primary filming for when senior year had two weeks off, so I could work full-time.
And it paid off. THE OTHERS AND ME was accepted in Berlin at REC: Internationales Jugend Film Festival and in the US at FLICKERS: Rhode Island International Film Festival.
It was a great experience. To this day I am very grateful to the entire cast and crew who helped bring this movie to life.
After all this work I wished I could’ve attended the premiere in Berlin, but acting school in New York had already started, so I missed it.
Are you planning on writing-directing more films?
Absolutely. Creating my own work is a vital part of who I am as an artist. I am currently writing a new screenplay.
Does this help you to attract more acting jobs?
I don’t know. It’s more about what I myself need artistically than what’s sensible career-wise.
Well, you don’t have to worry about your acting career at the moment. We were very excited to hear that SUPER WINGS was nominated for an International Emmy. Congrats.
So was I. Thanks.
Any upcoming acting work?
Yes, there is a lot in the pipeline for later this year and for 2018. It’ll be announced soon.
Right now, everyone, please tune in to SPROUT, every Wednesday at 4.30pm for SUPER WINGS!
Thank you so much for meeting with us.